The Old Testament Covenant -- By: George H. Schodde

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 042:167 (Jul 1885)
Article: The Old Testament Covenant
Author: George H. Schodde

The Old Testament Covenant1

George H. Schodde

The Old Testament is not an accidental collection of the literary remains of the Israelites in the sense in which we have an Indian, a Greek, or a Latin literature. In its highest and truest conception it is a revelation and the history of a revelation. Its chief virtue does not consist in its ability to furnish us the data for a clear conception of the intellectual, political, and social development of the most interesting member in the oriental family of nations; but its prime object is to hand down to us the revelations of God, through word and deed, designed to show fallen man the way back to reconciliation with God and to restoration to a lost estate, as also to point out how this revelation took historic form and growth in the development of that nation which the Lord had chosen to be the bearers of its important truths. In other words, the chief burden and central thought of the Old Testament is the plan of redemption adopted by Jehovah to be inaugurated and developed by means of a covenant with his own peculiar people. More particularly then, the covenant

between Jehovah and his people is the pivot around which all the other thoughts and facts of the Old Testament circle, and in relation to which they find their importance and mission. Such is certainly the view entertained by Christ and his apostles concerning the character of the Old Testament canon, and the Saviour with his revelation knew himself to be in the most intimate connection with that of Moses and the prophets (Matt. 5:17-18. To regard these books, then, as literary productions, in the ordinary sense of the word, as is done by those critics who claim to be “unbiassed by dogmatical prejudices” in their Scripture studies, may be “scientific,” but it is unhistorical and false. In fact, this fundamental error is the πρῶτον ψεῦδος of the new critical school. As they expel God from Israel’s history and religion, they eliminate the divine element from his revelation.2

Since God then, in the Old Testament dispensation, is working out his plan for the deliverance of mankind through his covenant with Israel, and is preparing salvation for man and man for salvation; and since the Old Testament revelation is the record of this covenant from its inception to its transition into another state through Christ, the character of this covenant will naturally be a matter of the greatest importance for the student of God’s word. Manifestly Old Testament theology has no pro-founder theme than...

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